Monday, June 2, 2008

Braised Asian Salmon

In the summer, we eat it grilled. In the winter, baked braised or seared. Year-round we eat it raw or smoked. We? Are a salmon family. All six of us love it, and eat it on a regular basis... For that reason I have developed a multitude of different ways to eat it, here's one of our favorites...


2 T sesame oil
2 small shallots
3 cloves of garlic
4 boneless salmon fillets
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup Trader Joe's ginger beer


In large saute pan heat sesame oil (should just coat bottom of the pan) on medium-high. When warm add shallots and garlic. Heat until shallots are translucent. Add salmon. Sear each side of the salmon fillets. Turn heat to low, add soy sauce and ginger beer. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Italian Flag Minestrone

extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
6 links of sweet Italian chicken sausage, remove casing
28oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
3 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
1 package frozen spinach, rinsed, drained, and wrung out in kitchen cloth
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas
1 1/2 boxes of vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups of uncooked pasta o's

In large stockpot, bring salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente.

Coat bottom of heavy stockpot with olive oil. Add rosemary and thyme. Heat on medium. Once warm, add garlic and onions. Cook until onions are translucent, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add salt and pepper.

Add chicken sausage. Once sausage in browned add in diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to coat. Add zucchini, spinach and peas. Add salt and pepper. Add stock, bring to boil. Turn down heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add pasta and serve.

Rosemary Garlic Potatoes


12 Baby Red potatoes, halved then sliced in thirds
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped, then minced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Scrub potato skins thoroughly before slicing (leave skin on). Place cut up potatoes in an oven-safe glass roasting pan, 9x13. Add rosemary, garlic, olive oil and a generous amount of salt (a salty potato is a yummy potato). Toss to coat. Place pan in oven. Cook for 20 minutes.

Using tongs, toss potatoes . Place in oven for 10-20 minutes more. Potatoes are ready when easily pierced by a fork.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


1 1/2 heads of garlic, roasted in oven for 20 minutes @ 400. Slice off bottom and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper - wrap in tin foil.
2 red peppers, roasted in oven for 20 minutes @ 400. Turn half way. Peel off skin.
3 large tomatoes
1 small white onion
large handful of fresh Italian parsley
1 T of whole black peppercorns
Sea Salt

Combine ingredients in Food Processor. Pulse until creates a thick 'soup'. Add salt to taste.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Aloha Chicken Stir-Fry

1/2 1lb bag of spaghetti noodles

extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 small onion, chopped

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced

2 Packages fresh broccolini

1/2 of a fresh pineapple, cored and sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 cup baby carrots, sliced in rounds

1 cup cherry heirloom tomatoes

Trader Joe's Ginger Beer, 12oz (split use)

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (split use)

1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbs brown sugar

Sea Salt, to taste

Cook pasta noodles in boiling water, drain and set aside.

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with olive oil and heat on low. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions become opaque, stirring frequently. Add chicken. Raise temperature to medium. After chicken has browned add 6oz of Ginger Beer and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Leave over low heat, while cooking the vegetables.

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Coat the bottom with olive oil. Add broccolini and carrots. Stir to coat with olive oil. Add peppers, tomatoes, and pineapple. Stir. Saute for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining Ginger Beer, chicken broth, soy sauce and sugar. Cook until vegetables are just tender. Add cooked chicken and noodles to stock pot. Salt to taste, and combine.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

San Diego 'Mexican' Rice

I love Mexican food. And really, living close to the Mexican border, it's not so much a cultural food in our town, but a way of life, and part of our normal eating regime.  'Mexican' food here, is simply FOOD. And, it's very different than in other parts of the country, where it's not quite as authentic. My kids clamber for quesadillas, tacos, taquitos, beans and rice; just as often as they do for hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. Taco Tuesday is a common local special, and we do our own in-house version weekly (although not always on Tuesdays).

One of my favorite go-to sides, is Mexican rice. Mine uses local influences, along with my kids' taste preferences, but is a solid representation non-the-less.


Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 of a sweet yellow onion, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups of short grain, white rice
2 T tomato paste
1 box of chicken stock (4 cups)
1 c fresh peas
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
2-4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and sliced (depending on their size, you want about 1 1/2 cups)
1 can green chilies (can be omitted if your guests don't like spicy... I tend to use only a 1/2 can or non at all when cooking for just the kids)
1/2 can of tomato sauce (I prefer San Marzano)


Coat the bottom of a large, rounded-bottom, sauce pan with olive oil. Heat oil until slightly smoking. Add onions and carrots, stirring frequently, and cook until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Once the spices have been incorporated add rice, continuing to stir frequently. When rice has started to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan a little bit, add in the tomato paste. Stir for an additional 3 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes and chicken stock. Cover. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, occasionally lifting the lid to stir and check the broth level. When about 3/4 of the broth has been absorbed add in peas, corn, chilies and tomato sauce. Cover and cook for 5-10 more minutes, until broth is completely absorbed. Add additional salt and cracked black pepper to taste. 

* You can, and I have on occasion, substitute frozen peas and corn for fresh, if neither is in season.

Vanilla Bean Pancakes

When my eldest were little, they were diagnosed with severe milk and egg allergies. We went completely milk and egg free for the better part of two years... until they were retested, and had aged out of the allergies (very common where milk and egg are concerned). But for two years, I cooked and used all types of substitutes, and recipe variations. Most have been abandoned as we introduced milk and egg back in our diets, many were resurrected when my youngest two faced the same issue... and a select few made it into our cooking arsenal for good.

This pancake recipe I developed is one of those I still prefer to use today. Although we cook with actual milk and real eggs these days, I prefer the batter consistency that the recipe gives by using rice milk.  I will use real eggs, but only because it's easier. Weird I know... but oh so good! If you want, you can use real milk and/or the eggs substitute... but really, try it this way once, and you just might not go back.

4 c. flour
5 T sugar
1 t kosher salt
2 1/2 T baking powder
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 box Rice Dream (or 4 cups of whole milk)
1 t vanilla
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
(if you don't have vanilla bean, or you want to make your life easier- substitute 1 t vanilla paste in lieu of both vanillas)
2 eggs (Substitute:  3 T veg. oil, 3 T oil, 2 t baking powder, whisk before adding)


Preheat griddle over medium heat.

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl whisk rice milk, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds, oil, and egg. Whisk until blended.

Turn griddle to medium low. Using a 1/8 measuring scoop up mixture drop on ungreased griddle. Flip when top is completely bubbly.

*If you use real eggs, increase the amount of baking powder from 2 1/2 to 3 T. No other changes are necessary.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just for the Halibut

4 4oz halibut fillets
1 1/2 cups panko
4 cups plain rice milk (remember I'm cooking for people with allergies)
vegetable oil (can be brought to a higher temp, than olive oil)
4 tomatoes, chopped (there were some beautiful varieties at the store so I chose different colors)
handful of basil leaves, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
olive oil

Soak halibut fillets in rice milk for 30 minutes. Season panko with salt and pepper - be generous.
While soaking, prepare tomato salad. Combine tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Add a dash of olive oil over top and pinch of salt. Stir through and refrigerate. Toast pine nuts in small skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally - cool.

Heat vegetable oil (enough to fully coat bottom of a nonstick pan) over medium-high heat. Dip soaked halibut in panko, and cover with the breadcrumbs. Gently place in skillet, flipping halfway through, about 6 minutes a side.
Add pine nuts to tomato mixture. Cover halibut with tomato salad. Serve with steamed zucchini.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

Lemon Thyme


4-5 lb whole chicken

8 whole cloves of garlic, smashed

5 fresh thyme stems

2 lemons, quartered

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 400.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Stuff cavity with garlic, thyme, and lemons. Rub outside with olive oil, sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Set on rack, in roasting pan. Cook until internal temp reaches 165 (approximately 1 1/2 hours).


Instead of rack, roast over red potatoes and 1 inch sliced zucchini rounds. Toss zucchini and potatoes with olive oil, the leaves of two additional sprigs of thyme and 1/2 cup of chicken stock in bottom of roasting dish. Place chicken on top - roast as above.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Salad

1 bag frozen sweet corn
2 Vine Ripened Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 bunch of Italian Parsley, rough chop
1 Avocado
1/2 lemon
Vegetable Oil
Pinch of Sugar

Blanch corn in boiling water for 3 minutes. Run under cold water to stop cooking process. Drain and add to bowl.

Add tomatoes and parsley.

Pit and chop avocado. Add to corn, tomatoes and parsley. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the vegetables. Drizzle vegetable oil and add a pinch of sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cheeseless Lasagne

1 bag penne pasta, cooked to al dente, in salted water
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 container fresh ground turkey
3oz sliced olives
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jar basil and garlic tomato pasta sauce (or can make your own - this time I decided to go with the jar I had)

Preheat oven to 350

Wipe a 9 x 13 glass pan with olive oil.

In a skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Stir and cook until translucent. Add ground turkey, brown. Add artichoke hearts, olives, diced tomatoes and fresh parsley.

Spread half the pasta in the bottom of the pan. Cover with half of the turkey mixture, followed with half of the jar of pasta sauce. Repeat. Bake in oven, uncovered for 40 minutes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chicken 'Pepperilla' Soup

This just might be my very favorite soup. Ever. I love that it has all the flavors of Chicken Tortilla soup- but with out the soggy chips, that, let's face it, taste better on the side with a heaping tablespoon of homemade guac! I make a large batch- but that only serves my family of 6 twice.  And only barely.  I suggest you make this much, and either have leftovers, or freeze the rest.  It freezes quite beautifully, and in the days of less children, I would still make the same amount and freeze it regularly.  It's jam-packed with veggies, protien, and deliciousness  and seriously, we could all eat it for days.

The key is braising the chicken breasts (instead of roasting them) so that they are super moist, and then using the braising liquid as part of the broth...However, if you are lazy (as I am quite apt to be often), you can always purchase a store bought rotisserie chicken or two, and toss that pre-cooked meat right into your soup.


4 chicken breasts
extra virgin olive oil
1 Onion, sliced
5 bell peppers, sliced into strips (I use a mixture of red, orange and yellow)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1 T chili pepper
3 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
3 boxes (12 cups) chicken stock, split use
1 lb baby carrots, sliced into rounds
4 fresh ears white corn (if not in season, one bag of frozen corn)
1 cup of Basmatic rice
1 bunch Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
limes, cut into wedges
sour cream
salt/pepper to taste


To make the chicken:

Preheat oven to 400. Liberally salt and pepper each chicken breast, and rub in a generous amount of olive oil. Place breasts in 9x11 glass pan and add 1 box (4 cups) of chicken stock. Braise for 40 minutes. Remove from oven.

Coat bottom of large stock pot with olive oil. Heat on medium. Add sliced onions and garlic, stir to coat with olive oil. Add sliced peppers. Cook until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and chili pepper, salt and pepper, stir. Add carrots and tomatoes. Cook 5 more minutes, until tomatoes begin to break down. Add 2 boxes (8 cups) of chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add rice. Once boiling, turn heat to low and let simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn and continue to simmer. Break apart chicken breasts with a fork, and add both chicken and braising liquid to the pan. Allow flavors to incorporate 10-20 more minutes. Sprinkle parsley over soup and serve with a dollop of sour cream and lime wedge.